On the heels of last week’s announcement that the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) issued a Request for Information for gaming companies seeking to open three casinos in the metropolitan New York City area, it looks like Hard Rock might be a player.
Hard Rock is looking at building a casino in or around New York City and moving along with plans to build another one in Northern Jersey, about eight miles from the nation’s largest city, according to a report by the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Speaking during the final day of the two-day East Coast Gaming Congress at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen said the global gaming company will submit an expression of interest to New York officials by Dec. 10, when New York gambling proposals are due, according to AP.
Allen said Hard Rock has been planning a New York project ever since the possibility of one was announced in 2014 and told AP that it is not giving up on a 2015 plan to build a casino resort at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“We’re interested in both markets, and if God is good enough to allow us to operate both, we would be happy to do so,” Allen said, according to AP.
Of course, voters in New Jersey would have to approve a Hard Rock Casino at the Meadowlands. In 2016, voters rejected a plan that would have authorized casinos outside Atlantic City, where there are nine brick-and-mortar casinos currently.
On Election Day next week, voters will vote on a referendum on whether to allow wagering in New Jersey on in-state college teams, such as Rutgers and Seton Hall, along with in-state college tournaments and events.
Four Upstate NY Casinos
In upstate New York, there are currently four casinos with sports betting — Rivers (Schenectady); Del Lago (Waterloo), Resorts World Catskills (Monticello) and Tioga Downs (Nichols).
Jeff Gural, who owns Meadowlands Racetrack (which is also home to FanDuel Sportsbook New York), as well as two upstate New York casinos (Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs), said he has not had any discussions with Allen regarding a possible future partnership with Hard Rock in New York or New Jersey, according to the AP report.
Last month, New Jersey became the first state to handle more than $1 billion dollars in sports bets in a single month.
More Money from Casinos for NY
A recent NYSGC study estimated that three casinos in the metropolitan New York City area could generate $420 million to $630 million in revenue per year, the New York Post reported last week.
Under current state law, the state gaming commission can consider downstate casinos after four casinos were opened upstate in an effort to boost economic development.
Although New York online sports betting is still waiting to go live, the four upstate retail casinos had strong September sports betting figures. The retail September sports betting handle was $17.35 million, up 89.6% from August’s $9.15 million.